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From Growth Theory to Technology Policy - Coordination Problems in Theory and Practice

  • Tor Jakob Klette
  • Jarle Møen

Economists, in particular Bresnahan and Trajtenberg (1995), have recently drawn attention to the importance of generic or general purpose technologies (GPTs) and their significance for economic growth. An interesting part of this research identifies coordination problems in the introduction of GPTs, and the potentially large benefits in coordinating research and product development. Thinking about information technology as a GPT, with the associated coordination problems, seems to fit well with the motivation behind governmental support schemes to IT and related high-tech industries in Norway. The first part of our study focoses on a series of such IT-programs that have been implemented in Norway from the early 1980s, with the objective of coordinating the development of information technology and its application throughout the economy. We examine in some detail the largest of these IT-programs through its planning and implementation stages and emphasize how closely it is connected to recent economic analysis of GPTs. The second part of our study examines to what extent these governmental plans and subsidy schemes have been successful in creating economic results in terms of growth and profits in the IT and IT-related industries. In the final part of the paper we discuss some of the lessons about the problems with technology policy at a practical level.

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Article provided by Nordic Journal of Political Economy in its journal Nordic Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 25 (1999)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 53-74

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Handle: RePEc:noj:journl:v:25:y:1999:p:53-74
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  1. Kiminiori Matsuyama, 1994. "Complementaries and Cumulative Processes In Models of Monopolistic Competition," Discussion Papers 1106, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Nick Bloom & Rachel Griffith & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Do R&D tax credits work? Evidence from an international panel of countries 1979-1994," IFS Working Papers W99/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Kamien, Morton I & Muller, Eitan & Zang, Israel, 1992. "Research Joint Ventures and R&D Cartels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1293-306, December.
  4. Trajtenberg, M. & Bresnahan, T.F., 1992. "General Purpose Technologies: "Engines of Growth"," Papers 16-92, Tel Aviv.
  5. Kiminiori Matsuyama, 1995. "Economic Development as Coordination Problems," Discussion Papers 1123, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "Multilateral Comparisons of Output, Input, and Productivity Using Superlative Index Numbers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 73-86, March.
  7. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gronhaug, Kjell & Fredriksen, Tor, 1984. "Governmental innovation support in Norway : Micro- and macro-level effects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 165-173, June.
  10. Milgrom, Paul R & Qian, Yingyi & Roberts, John, 1991. "Complementarities, Momentum, and the Evolution of Modern Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 84-88, May.
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